The Effects of Hindsight Bias on Jurors' Evaluations of Auditor Decisions

David Lowe, Philip Reckers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Hindsight bias refers to the tendency of individuals with outcome knowledge (hindsight) to alter their perception of an event such that, ex‐post, one's assumed ability to predict an event is greater than one's ex‐ante ability. Auditors must make decisions without knowledge of an eventual outcome, but auditor liability is determined from a perspective that includes outcome knowledge. A behavioral experiment was conducted with 92 prospective jurors. Jurors were presented with a case in which auditors performed an audit of a client company and subsequently issued the standard, favorable audit report. Outcome knowledge was manipulated as: (1) no outcome (control group), (2) negative outcome (bankruptcy and subsequent lawsuit), and (3) negative outcome with a debiasing strategy. Results indicate that outcome knowledge biased jurors' evaluations of the auditor's judgment. Additional analysis revealed that the results are consistent with a cognitive interpretation of hindsight bias. The debiasing strategy was found to be effective in mitigating hindsight bias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-426
Number of pages26
JournalDecision Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994


  • Auditing
  • Decision Processes
  • Legal Issues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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